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Superintendent fears Gov. Whitmer may call off academic school year too early

Posted at 11:30 PM, Mar 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-28 10:10:29-04

ROCKFORD, Mich. — Governor Whitmer today announced on a Detroit radio station that it is 'very likely' Michigan students may not go back to school for the rest of the 2019-2020 academic school year.

At this point, students across the state have not been going to class for two weeks, with many teachers working remotely and assigning homework.

Rockford Superintendent Michael Shibler fears the Governor may act too quickly with a decision and hopes she will take an 'incremental' approach when deciding students' futures.

"It is completely and totally unchartered waters for any school district in the state of Michigan, let alone the United States," said Superintendent Shibler. "This kind of event has never happened before to my knowledge."

Superintendent Shibler met with about 18 other district leaders from across Kent County on Friday to come up with a plan and solution moving forward during this pandemic.

"We are being proactive," said Superintendent Shibler. "We are always putting the safety of students first."

Rockford Public Schools will look to make a more formal online educational system if school remains closed.

"I would hope that the Governor and the state legislature would consider an incremental closing. If they feel it is truly unsafe to bring students back to school afte April 13th, that is fine. But let's take a look at the next date to consider and evaluate as May 1st," said Shibler, who hopes Governor Whitmer will re-evaluate the situation on a week-by-week or biweekly basis.

Parents across West Michigan have different approaches they would like to see. In a Facebook live, parents across the area commented with many saying they would like to see schools remain closed. Others ask they see the situation play out while some families feel their students need a routine to go back to.

"I feel like for them, they need to go back to school just to feel like life is normal a little bit," said Tim Miller, a father with kids in the Rockford school district. "It's not normal to be at home when it is col out."

At the same time, Miller says he isn't surprised by the Governor's remarks that school will likely remain closed.

"I'm okay with them missing out if nobody really gets sick," said Miller.